Novak Djokovic
Serbia

  • Full name Novak Djokovic
  • Birth date May 22, 1987
  • Birth place Belgrade
  • Current age 27 years 68 days
  • Height 6 ft 2 in
  • Style All-rounder with strong backhand and powerful serve
Novak Djokovic acknowledges the crowd
Profile

At one stage, it looked like Novak Djokovic was destined to be a one-hit wonder - his sole major - the Australian Open back in 2008 his only taste of grand slam glory.

That was before Djokovic picked up a tennis racket at the start of the 2011 season, regaining his title in Melbourne and enjoying a 41-match unbeaten streak before winning Wimbledon to be crowned world No. 1. He ended the year with 70 wins from 76 matches and three grand slam titles in his possession having enjoyed one of the greatest seasons in history.

But it is his on-court impressions and off-court humour that make him unique from the rest of the tennis world.

Djokovic's achievements certifiy his status as a genuine world class talent and hero back in Serbia, but every bit as legendary have been his tongue-in-cheek impressions of the slow-to-serve Rafael Nadal and the overly-aggressive Maria Sharapova.

Born in Belgrade, Serbia, an eight-year-old Djokovic was quickly labelled "the greatest talent seen since Monica Seles" by Yugoslav legend Jelena Gencic. Fortunately Djokovic had parents who believed the hype and transferred him to a tennis academy in Munich, transforming their son into one of the top five players in the world.

By 2006 Britain's Lawn Tennis Association was wise to Djokovic's miraculous climb up the rankings, not least because he helped Serbia to defeat Great Britain in the Davis Cup. Talks between the two parties were played down by the player himself at the time of their occurrence, but Djokovic admitted some three years later: "Britain was offering me a lot of opportunities and they needed someone because Andy [Murray] was the only one, and still is... But I didn't need the money as much as I had done. I had begun to make some for myself... and I said, 'Why the heck?' I am Serbian, I am proud of being a Serbian."

Within months he had shown why Britain came knocking, reaching the French Open quarter finals before lifting his maiden title at the Dutch Open. A further victory in Metz and the teenage Djokovic was already into the world top 20, marking the start of 2007 with his first Grand Slam semi-final appearance in Paris.

A second semi was soon to follow at Wimbledon, but the tournament marked the first high profile retirement by Djokovic due to injury, a topic that would stain his reputation in years to come. It was the 2008 US Open that sparked initial criticisms from his fellow pros, after the Serbian called for two time-outs on his way to a five-set victory over Tommy Robredo. Andy Roddick later commented that Djokovic was "either quick to call a trainer or the most courageous guy of all time".

The row threatened to boil over again in the 2009 Australian Open, when defending champion Djokovic effectively gave up his crown by retiring from his quarter final with Roddick due to heat exhaustion. The Serbian had been losing at the time of the retirement, prompting his peers to notice that he had retired from three of the past four Grand Slams.

Djokovic's achievements far outweigh his shortcomings though. He is the youngest player in open era to reach all four grand slam semi-finals, and he is the first player since Boris Becker to defeat the top three players in the world in the same tournament. The 2007 US Open seemed destined to be the youngster's first grand slam title as he stormed to the final but, despite creating seven set points, he came away beaten by straight sets against Roger Federer.

Djokovic's thirst deepened. The Australian Open was his first chance to vanquish the memory of that defeat and, after reaching the final without dropping a set - stopping Roger Federer reaching his 11th consecutive grand slam final in the process - Djokovic beat Jo-Wilfried Tsonga to put Serbia on the tennis map.

Titles nine and ten followed ahead of a trip to the Beijing Olympics where Djokovic took the bronze medal, before returning home to find himself in the retirement storm that clouded over a magnificent triumph at the Tennis Masters Cup.

Further titles arrived in 2009 as Djokovic cemented his place in the world top five. He came agonisingly close to a second grand slam title the following year in New York, saving two match points to deny Federer a place in the final, only to come up against an unstoppable Nadal, en route to a achieving a career Grand Slam.

But he was playing with a new-found confidence, and he blazed to his second grand slam title in Melbourne without dropping a set, regaining the title he won in 2008. It was the beginning of an astonishing 41-match unbeaten start to 2011, picking up seven titles before falling to Federer in the French Open semi-finals.

He then went on to achieve two lifelong dreams - beating defending champion Nadal to win Wimbledon, and in doing so becoming world No. 1 for the first time. And his astonishing season continued as he downed Nadal for a sixth time in 2011 to win the US Open, leaving him with just the French Open to complete the set.

And a third Australian Open title handed him the chance to become only the third man in history to hold all four major titles. However, he fell at the final hurdle as Nadal defended his Roland Garros title.


Career high Beating Rafael Nadal to win his maiden Wimbledon title - and his third grand slam crown - completing a dream week in which he secured his status as the new world No. 1


Career low Attracting accusations from his own peers - including Andy Roddick and Roger Federer - of retiring too easily from matches, particularly when losing.


Quotes "Everything is in front of tennis in my country. They don't respect it in a way the rest of the world does. It's a sad thing. But in the last year and a half we have made something really special for Serbia by having six players in the top hundred."

"He is a superb athlete...and he is always a threat with his very big powerful game. People forget he is younger than Andy Murray." Pat Cash


Trivia In 2009, Djokovic was approached by Serbian television to play the assassinated king of Yugoslavia, Aleksander Karadjordjevic.

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Aug 30, 2013

Novak Djokovic reacts to the crowd

Aug 27, 2013

Novak Djokovic in action during his win over Ricardas Berankis

Aug 16, 2013

Novak Djokovic walks off dejected after losing to John Isner

Aug 16, 2013

Novak Djokovic goes low for a ball

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